Nail Art

Dedicated to the infinite joys of nail art and design: handpaint, airbrush, colored acrylics and gels.


Ask Vicki: Vicki Peters Answers Your Technical Questions

In this bimonthly column, nail technician and NAILS Magazine Shows manager Vicki Peters answers readers’ technical questions.

What Are Some Nail Art Tips for Lace?

I am interested in netting and lace nail art techniques. Each time I’ve tried to apply these materials, they melt into the polish. Even when the polish is somewhat dry, the top coat melts into the netting or lace so it really can’t be seen. Can you help?

Also, how is snakeskin removed when it is glued on? And is there a tool for applying glitter?

In using UV gel colors, I have applied the required coats but this doesn’t bring out the color’s full potential. Am I applying it too lightly? I don’t want the nail to look too thick.

What is the address for the monthly “Nail Art by Our Readers,” and what type of photo should I send?

Phyllis K. Flanders

Norcross, Ga.

It is inevitable that netting and lace will melt into nail polish to some degree. I suggest you use thicker netting and lace purchased at a fabric store. Try several thicknesses until you find one that gives you a nice look without being too bulky.

Because snakeskin is thicker than paper, it takes longer to remove it by filling. Try placing a drop of nail glue remover on the tip of an orangewood stick and gently pulling up an edge of the snakeskin. Push the tip of the orangewood stick between the snakeskin and the nail, and work the snakeskin loose. Repeat until the glue remover separates the snakeskin from the nail.

I don’t know of any tools made specifically for applying glitter. There are, however, several ways you can apply glitter to achieve different effects:

  1. Dip a fine paintbrush into the top coat and then into the glitter. Paint the mixture on the nail, creating designs as you go.
  2. Sprinkle glitter on top of wet polish or top coat. Or, submerge the wet nail into the glitter and tap the fingertip to loosen excess glitter.
  3. To make a design, use thick stripping tape to mask the section you wish to cover with glitter. Use top coat to polish inside the masked area. Sprinkle glitter on the wet polish and let dry. Remove the striping tape and apply top coat. This technique can be done with several different stripes, but you must let each layer of top coat dry between applications.
  4. Use a foil adhesive applicator to draw a picture on dry polish. Then sprinkle glitter over the foil adhesive. Brush off excess and apply top coat.

To answer your question about colored gel, sometimes three coats of colored gel are needed to get good color coverage. This is especially true with lighter shades. And, although colored gels have a long shelf life, some colors have been reformulated with a stronger pigment to give better coverage. You may want to consider purchasing fresh jars of those colors that now require three coats.

When applying colored gel, apply each coat evenly, and be sure to cover the entire surface. If you need to apply a third coat, apply each coat thinly so you don’t build a thick nail.

Finally, when you’ve created these nail art masterpieces and have photographs, send them to “Nail Art by Our Readers,” NAILS Magazine.

How Can I Remove Gels Without Filing?

I’m a licensed manicurist in Massachusetts and I am currently using a gel system. I don’t like the fact that gel can only be removed by filing. Are you aware of any gel systems that offer a removal product? Or can you remove gels with acetone when the client no longer wants the upkeep?

Helane Broad

Needham, Mass.

There is no product specifically made for gel removal on the market, and you have to do some filing because the cured, dry gel is impervious to removal products unless the surface is roughed up. Never try to file off gels completely, however, because you risk damaging the nail plate. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Clip nails back to the free edge.
  2. Lightly file the gel surface with a rough file to break the gel seal.
  3. Apply nail glue remover gel to the nail plate or soak the nails in acetone or glue remover gel for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Wipe the nail with a sponge or cloth to remove dissolved product. Repeat as necessary until all gel is removed. Don’t tug at the gel or you risk removing layers of the natural nail plate.


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